Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A court in Seoul sentenced for fraud the controversial South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk, famous for experiments on stem cells and human cloning. He is also charged with fraud, embezzlement and violation of laws on bioethics. He was celebrated and revered as a national hero for having led South Korea at the forefront of scientific research; revelations about the falsification of his experiments shocked the entire nation.
In 2005 Hwang Woo-suk (pictured) fell into disgrace after the international scientific community and the University of the Capital unmasked the results of his research on stem cells, forged in the laboratory to give the impression that he had managed to clone cells from healthy patients suffering from currently incurable diseases. The results of his research were published in two issues of U.S. scientific journal Science. The researcher claimed to have created stem cell lines with the cloning of human embryos.
In 2006 South Korea blocked his cell research and the following year launched a prosecution against him. In 2008, the 56 year old veterinary doctor had asked permission to resume research on human stem cells, the request was rejected by the South Korean government. He argued that the use of stem cells would have positive implications in the treatment of diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Hwang Woo-suk is "guilty" because he "falsified" tests, the court in Seoul ruled after a trial lasting three years that has examined every detail of the scientist’s work. The judges also ruled that the "pioneer of human cloning" used the money received to fund its research projects for "personal use". The prosecutor has asked for four years in prison, the sentence is expected in the coming hours.